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Distinguished guests from Korea and elsewhere, 

 

I would like to extend my warm welcome to all participants in the Global Insurance Symposium 2008,

which is hosted jointly by the Korea Insurance Research Institute and the Financial News. 

 

The Korean insurance industry stands at an unprecedented crossroads. Internally, the industry will soon

witness the full effectuation of the Capital Market Consolidation Act (set for February 2009), and an

overall revamping of the Insurance Business Act. Externally, the industry must prudently navigate the

rough waters of a financial crisis originating from the U.S. that has rocked the global financial market.

These are indeed tough challenges for those of us in the insurance industry to take on and overcome. 

 

Barriers between different market segments no longer exist in an advanced financial industry. Gone is

the era when the insurance, banking, and brokerage industries flourished within their respective business

boundaries. It would now be fair to say that the real rivals of insurance firms are not insurers, but rather large

banks, investment banks, and brokerage houses. Even in the same insurance business sector, life and

non-life insurance firms are advancing into each other’s turf without any reservation. 

The world’s largest insurance-focused financial group, which Korean institutions have sought to benchmark,

is struggling to overcome a pressing financial crisis. This indicates that establishing a Korean-style,

insurance-centered financial group armed with global competitiveness is far from an easy goal to attain.   

 

Amid these circumstances, this year’s symposium has been arranged to provide an opportunity to

examine the current situation of the Korean insurance industry, and to set the direction for the industry

to move forward. The Korean insurance industry still has many lessons to learn from the pool of experience

in advanced financial markets, including those of the U.S., Australia and Hong Kong. I sincerely hope all

of you, who have taken time out of your busy schedules to attend this symposium, will discover important

opportunities through this event. 

 

I wish for your continued success in this auspicious, harvesting season. 

 

Jun Jae-ho, 

President & CEO,

The Financial News

 

 

 

 

Distinguished guests from Korea and elsewhere,

 

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the “Global Insurance Symposium 2008.” 

 

The Korean financial industry is embracing an unprecedented wave of changes ahead of the effectuation

of the Financial Market Consolidation Act, which is scheduled for February 2009. The banking sector,

which has completed its transition into a holding company scheme, is heralding a major reshuffle through

large scale M&A deals, while the securities business community is spurring efforts to gain the upper hand

in the investment banking sector.  

 

The insurance industry is not an exception to the prevailing trend of changes in the market. The government

is taking steps to seek a major revision to the Insurance Business Act during this year’s regular session

of the National Assembly with a view to increasing the industry’s international competitiveness. Once the

revision bill clears the Assembly, barriers between different segments of the insurance industry will likely

be dismantled, while insurance holding firms will emerge. Also, measures will be devised to provide

customers with ‘one-stop comprehensive financial services,” encompassing sales of not only insurance

products but also investment funds. An M&A drive could also gather momentum, as rival firms scramble to

boost competitiveness. 

 

Considering that the Korean insurance industry ranks seventh in the world (in terms of cumulative premiums

paid as of 2007), the growth pace of the insurance sector is relatively slower than that of other industries,

including the banking and brokerage sectors. However, the winds of change sweeping the domestic and

foreign financial markets will not allow the local insurance industry to derive comfort from the status quo.

Internally, key tasks facing the industry, including the listing of life insurance firms, have yet to be completed.

Externally, a major U.S. insurer, which has been considered the largest and best insurance company in

the world, is embracing a financial crisis caused by subprime mortgage woes, a harsh reality facing the

global financial market. 

 

The Global Insurance Symposium 2008 has been organized to shed light on the current situation faced

by the Korean insurance industry amid this storm of changes, and to allow the Korean insurance sector

to set the direction in which to move forward by learning from the examples of advanced countries, including

the U.S., Australia and Hong Kong. I sincerely hope that this event will serve as an important opportunity

for all participants to be inspired and to discover a vision for the future. 

 

 

Cho Young-kwon, 

Publisher,

The Financial News

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